"SWISS BANKING SECRECY: TO BE OR NOT TO BE?" The global model for secrecy laws - Swiss banking secrecy - might be defeated in its home country Switzerland by its own Swiss Federal judges. What an irony that its protectors might be forced to produce a verdict against their personal and political views!

 

What would an acquittal of Rudolf Elmer related to charges of Swiss banking secrecy violation by Swiss federal judges mean for the Swiss banking industry in general?

 

All offshore vehicles (trusts, companies, partnerships etc.) holding a Swiss bank account would no longer be protected outside Switzerland, even though the information of the Swiss bank accounts is sent to Cayman, Jersey, Delaware etc. for accounting and administration purposes. The information would be accessible for foreign authorities from the point in time when the information on the Swiss Bank account crosses the Swiss border. The business model of using offshore jurisdictions like Cayman, Jersey UK, Isle of Man etc. to set up trusts, companies, and partnerships would not work anymore because the Swiss judicial system will no longer be able to protect the information - they will only be able to do that if the bank account and the vehicle (trust, company, stiftung etc.) are based and domiciled in Switzerland.

 

An acquittal of Ruedi Elmer would be a real setback for Swiss banking secrecy. However, jurisdictions like Jersey UK, the Isle of Man, Monaco, Hong Kong etc. will profit because the bank accounts of their local offshore vehicles (trusts, companies etc.) will be held in their jurisdictions under the secrecy law of that jurisdiction. Because Switzerland does not have any trust law, partnership law etc. it means that many bank accounts will be moved to the place where the trusts, companies etc. are domiciled respectively set up!

 

Zurich`s Higher Prosecution Office and Julius Baer arrogantly took this highly political case to the Federal Court of Switzerland in November 2016 hoping that the Swiss federal judges could bend and stretch the law again in order to prosecute Rudolf Elmer for violating Swiss banking secrecy. Now, this potential and crucial legal defeat might not only backfire on the Swiss finance industry but also on the entire Swiss offshore sector!

 

Such a legal defeat for the Higher Prosecution Office of Zurich and Julius Baer would represent another Barbara Streisand Effect after WikiLeaks in 2008 and 2011.

 

More importantly, acquittal by the federal judges would not only be a disaster for the financial industry of Switzerland but also for the industries such as commodity trading, precious metal refining, insurance, food, the pharmaceutical industry etc. due to the fact that the money flow from those industries go through Swiss bank accounts and all too often through global offshore jurisdictions as well.

 

This goes to show how greed is the wrong motivator, not only in the banking industry but also this same greed underlying the actions of judges, the police, Julius Baer, and some of the Swiss media in giving a whistleblower a hard time and failing to act in the interest of the public, including the Swiss public.